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Monday, August 09, 2004


TERROR ALERTS: SOME LIBERALS WANT TO HAVE THEIR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO 


Liberals are not concerned about the way that terrorism is being handled - they are concerned that President Bush will be reelected because of the way he is handling the War on Terror

Since when have liberals wanted the government to hide information on matters involving the military, national security and basic rights?


The other day we pointed out how liberals criticize the Bush Administration for not being specific enough during previous terror threat announcements but should not have been specific last week - despite the fact that detractors were begging for specificity. The yawning gap between honesty and hysterical partisanship has grown even wider this week.

No matter what Tom Ridge, Condoleezza Rice, President Bush and others do, the knee-jerk reaction of liberals is to criticize the administration's methods in defeating terrorists. Previous terror threat announcements have been scoffed at, met with skepticism and denounced as attempts to manipulate the well-placed fear of American voters. Now, liberals are astounded by the revelation of critical, specific and pertinent information that they consider way "too much information." Since when have liberals wanted the government to hide information on matters involving the military, national security and basic rights?

Dohiyi Mir continues with the monday morning quarterbacking of the way that Homeland Security issues are being dealt with. This time, there was no standard talking-point attack line of "not specific enough, give us more!" Previous terror threat announcements that did not specify time, date, place, actor/s, explosives, methods and mugshots were met with accusations of lies, lies and more lies. Liberals eroded the public's confidence in the alert system by making a mockery of it. Last week was different.

Now, Dihiyi Mir wants Americans to cover their ears when Tom Ridge speaks. Why? Because Ridge is laying out all the info on the table. We now know there are specific threats of attacks on particular buildings in New York, New Jersey and Washington. Instead, Dihiyi Mir has to turn the terror threat warnings into a melodrama...

Was there no other way to address the potential attacks than for Ridge to announce breathlessly to the world on a Sunday that we knew about the attacks, the fact that we knew was all due to Bush's great leadership, and by the way, we're doing a great job doing the job you assume we've been doing?


Tom Ridge is not your run of the mill demagogue, like Al Sharpton, who gets prime-time speaking spots at the Democratic convention. No one with an ounce of intellectual honesty can use the words "breathlessly" and "Tom Ridge" in the same sentence. Ridge is a diligent bureaucrat who must direct thousands of law enforcement agents. These agents don't need "breathless" announcements in order to remind them what their mission is.

Dohiyi Mir is upset that Ridge cites President Bush as being diligent in this effort. Excuse me, but the president is the commander-in-chief. If he is not supposed to be doing his job then who is, Kofi Annan? Nothing in Ridge's job description says he has to act as if the President doesn't exist.

Dohiyi Mir's argument reveals a paranoia lurking between the lines. Liberal detractors of the Bush Administration are afraid that President Bush's leadership is proactive, engaged and effective in blunting terrorists in many cities, countries and continents. The full scale of President Bush's successes are striking.

Some liberals are capable of debating on the merits of issues. Stumax made a reasonable argument in one of this blog's "comment" sections. Stumax said, "It is right to ask for more some specifics when the government issues a terror warning, but those specifics do not have to involve the radical measure of burning an al Qaeda double agent." If in fact a double agent's cover was blown, then there are reasonable questions to ask from both sides. But, we must wait until we hear all of the details about the double agent. Remember, many liberals thought Joe Wilson was unfairly maligned until it was revealed that he lied to the media, his book publisher, the 9/11 Commission and other agencies. The truth comes out, eventually.

Liberals are afraid of a Bush reelection. By politicizing terror alerts, in an flinching and unthinking way, liberals think they can muzzle the Bush Administration into keeping its mouth shut on whatever it is doing to protect and save our lives. Obviously, to you, to me and yes, to all of those liberals, that is not going to happen.

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RATING THE POLLSTERS: SALON.COM TRIES TO FIGURE OUT WHO ARE THE BEST POLLSTERS 

In an age of rampant political polls, Salon.com rates the pollsters (subscription required but I signed up for easy "one-day pass")

The traditional gold standard in the polling world is the Gallup organization, which has covered presidential elections since George Gallup predicted a Roosevelt victory in 1936. Wonks can read all about Gallup's standards on the organization's Web site, which is as canonical as it is unexciting. Gallup teams up with CNN and USA Today for horserace polls.

Most pollsters and all of the experts Salon contacted say that the major papers and television networks are also reliable. Despite Dowd's objections, the Los Angeles Times polls look methodologically pristine, as do the CBS News/New York Times, Wall Street Journal/NBC News, and ABC News/Washington Post polls.

Several pollsters said that Fox News, which hired the research firm Opinion Dynamics to do its polling, tends to have a Republican bias in its survey results. But in terms of methodology, Fox News appears to be a "model survey," Kyle Smith, a statistician at the University of New Mexico, wrote in an e-mail to Salon. In particular, the questions Fox asks are actually fair and balanced. "If you want a good standard to judge other survey scripts, I'd suggest using Fox's," Smith wrote. The Fox bias that some pollsters allege might come from the way numbers are reported, not gathered, Blendon said.


But, there are some polls that are not considered reliable. Really? We're shocked, SHOCKED to hear that news flash.

The Zogby International polling firm has been using controversial methods for years, and this election cycle is no different. The Zogby Interactive Battleground Poll -- regularly cited in the blogosphere and published on the Wall Street Journal's Web site -- is an online poll conducted via e-mail. If this sounds dubious, that's because it is... For the same reason, watch out for Harris Interactive polls.

Zogby does conduct telephone surveys that are less unorthodox, though they are still controversial.


Rasmussen Reports uses another questionable technique to gather its polling data: interactive voice technology (IVT), in which a computer does the calling and the interviewing. Though Rasmussen himself said that it is "easier to get people to talk to a computer than it used to be," polling units that use IVT have a reputation for low response rates. "It's a far cry from having an interviewer," Belden said. Holland does not let CNN report results from IVT polls... SurveyUSA, another prolific polling organization, also uses IVT.

American Research Group (ARG) polls are out all the time with fresh numbers from battleground states. The organization, however, would not release the most vital piece of information about its work -- who pays for it -- when Salon asked. ARG spokesman Dick Bennett told Salon that "news organizations" generally subscribe to fund ARG polls. But without full disclosure, the survey data cannot be completely trusted.


Salon.com then finds out that online polls are not reliable. Oh, really? I guess I should stop paying attention to those CNN.com polls. Riddle me this...

All the experts Salon contacted agreed that the worst polls out there are the fantastically useless Internet surveys like those CNN's Lou Dobbs asks his viewers to fill out on his Web site. When he says they are unscientific, he means it. They're really just for fun.


The lesson from Salon.com is that voters should know that they are not to rely on popular polls. And kids, knowing is half the battle!


Salon.com: Court of public opinion: Political polls proliferate in an election year, and junkies just can't get enough -- but not all surveys are created equal. Salon rates the pollsters.

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BLOGROLL ADDITIONS: AUGUST UPDATE II 

The following are sites that I have added to my blogroll. Friends, make sure you check them out, they are quite good, informative and entertaining. I apologize for taking this long to publicize my additions and to any I may have left out. You will be duly noted, soon.

1. Baseball Crank (Holy Cross grad AND Mets fan) 2. All Things Jen(nifer), 3. Blackfive, 4. Captain's Quarters, 5. Catholic Analysis, 6. Clareified, 7. Cox and Forkum, 8. The Daily Czech (Slovakia), 9. David's Medienkritik (Germany), 10. Dissecting Leftism (Australia), 11. The Dissident Frogman (France), 12. The Eddie Kranepool Society (Mets fan), 13. Eugene Volokh, 14. EURSOC, 15. Expat Yank (London), 16. Is that Legal?, 17. The JG Spot, 18. Le Blog de Polyscopique (Quebec), 19. Little Green Footballs, and 20. Mudville Gazette.

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